Sunday, 20 March 2011


The first official day of Spring today. Cold but eventually the sun made an appearance. Thank goodness because yesterday was bitter.

In the afternoon (yesterday)Jean-Claude and I went to visit an antiquities expo in Chartres-he has an interest in this sort of thing and I've never attended one before so I was curious. It didn't have high-class antiques but I still found some of the pieces enchanting. Really, there were a number of pieces of furniture, light fittings and carpets I'd have been excited to purchase if I had a few spare thousands of euros. To me it's fascinating seeing the old french furniture from the 18th century and later. And I believe I have very good taste. I can imagine a small french house with these pieces in it- I would love that, and some special outdoor furniture for the garden too, of course. Ah, one can dream.

The weather was not conducive to walking around Chartres (as you can see from the photo of the Cathedral, bitterly cold and misty. Instead we attended a VO session at the cinema there called "We want sex equality". It's about a group of machinists at a Ford factory in England who go out on strike with major consequences. Funny and admirable.

Today we pottered around the bottom of Jean-Claude's property. It's wild in this section and fenced to keep JC's dog from hunting everything there. We could see the beginnings of Spring: a faint flush of green on some of the trees, the ground covered in nettles, violets and mini-ranunculus. Along the river and in boggy places are found slightly bigger ranunculus, bullrushes, iris.

Along the other side of the stream is a raised railway line. It has been abandoned since World War 2 because the allies bombed the bridges. JC explained there are lots of bomb craters. The locals fill them with rubbish and let them grow-over. One of the stone bridges is in original condition (see photo).

It was quiet. JC is observant and pointed out any ducks and other birds in the vicinity. A quick flash across a little footbridge was caused by two chevreuil (very small species of deer). You can just make one out crossing the bridge in the photo if you zoom on it. They are the first animals I've seen in a french forest. I hope I'll see more as the weather improves and the forests wake up. I can also see why JC loves his somewhat remote property and wouldn't dream of leaving it. He loves nature (being a chasseur) and his hunting dog enjoys great freedom. It's very energetic and fast and good company for JC.

I wonder if I'll ever be settled enough one day to have a pet of my own again. I miss that. I wonder if I'll ever have a house of my own here in France-that's an essential part of my dream.


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